YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University celebrated its 150th anniversary with a gala and special concert at Stambaugh Auditorium Wednesday night.
It all started in 1869, and 150 years later — making it one of the oldest institutions of any kind in the Mahoning Valley — the Dana School of Music is still a Youngstown legacy.
“That’s part of how we survive so long. Youngstown’s such a unique place with many unique traditions,” said Dr. Randall Goldberg, current Dana School director.
Goldberg calls it an amazing milestone.
“There are thousands of music schools in America but there’s only six that have been around this long,” Goldberg said. “Students have gone on to teach, to perform, to create, to compose.”
Some former students are now in Nashville, Los Angeles, New York and even making an impact right here in Youngstown.
Gabriella Sandy graduated in May of 2018 and now teaches music at Youngstown City Schools.
“I’m just trying to instill an appreciation for music in general so I tell them if they join the band you can really go places with this,” she said.
Current students like Noah Clin are embracing the school’s legacy, too.
“Youngstown really is a truly special place for music. We have such a storied history with the Dana School of Music,” Clin said.
Clin is a junior music education major who felt at home the first time he visited the Dana School of Music.
“It’s very overwhelming at times because there’s such a history and you just want to be part of that,” Clin said.
And there are few people who understand this history and legacy more than Bill Byo. He was the director of the school for 20 years before retiring in 1992.
“It means a lot to me in a variety of ways because I’ve been a part of this school for 65 of those 150 years,” Byo said.
And he still is a part of it. Byo said it’s a great place for anyone to develop as a musician and he’s loved every student he’s gotten to teach.
“They are all very special to me and they will be forever,” Byo said.
Students must audition to get into the school. They are then trained by the more than 50 person faculty and staff.